The Commission welcomes the decision by the European Parliament to grant discharge to the Commission for the 2012 EU budget.
On 3 April 2014 Algirdas Šemeta, Commissioner responsible for Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Audit and Anti-Fraud, said:
"I warmly welcome the Parliament's decision to grant budget discharge to the Commission. This is clear recognition of the Commission's consistent efforts to ensure the highest level of protection for EU funds. We will continue to use every tool at its disposal to further improve EU financial management, and I gave full commitment to the Parliament that we would act upon its recommendations today. New rules introduced for the 2014-20 budget period will also help substantially to further reduce errors in EU spending. In particular, tough new measures mean that if Member States fail to manage EU funds properly, they risk losing them completely. I hope this will be an incentive to national authorities to step up to the mark and take their responsibilities for the EU budget more seriously. We all have a duty to focus must be on what really matters to our citizens: value for money and money well spent. We've created the right framework to achieve this over the next seven years – now it is a question of delivering on it."
The budget discharge is the final approval of the EU budget implementation for a given year. It is granted by the European Parliament on a recommendation from the Member States in Council. The Parliament uses the Court of Auditors' report (statement of assurance) as the primary basis for this decision. Discharge equates to approval of how the Commission implemented the budget in that financial year and the closure of the accounts.
Under the Treaty (Article 317 TFEU), the Commission implements the budget on its own responsibility. However, under shared management (including e.g. agriculture, rural development, regional and social policies and fishery programmes representing about 80% of the Union's budget), the first level controls and checks belong to the national authorities. They design and implement their own systems which are subject to Commission's and the Court of Auditors' audit.